December 7, 2018
Payback is a “bitch.” But Donald Trump is not worried about the $21 trillion national debt—up from $19.9 trillion on January 20, 2017—that the nation now owes, according to a December 5 report by the Daily Beast.
Sources close to the president say he has repeatedly shrugged it off—implying that he doesn’t have to worry about the money owed to America’s creditors, because he won’t be around to shoulder the blame when it becomes a crippling issue.
The friction came to a head in early 2017 when senior administration officials offered Trump charts and graphics laying out the numbers showing a spike in the national debt in the not-too-distant future, the online news outlet said.
“Yeah, but I won’t be here,” the president bluntly responded, according to a source who was in the room when Trump made the comment.
For those who have worked with Trump, the Daily Beast says, it was no surprise. Several people close to the president, both within and outside his administration, confirmed that the national debt has never bothered him in a truly meaningful way, despite his public lip service. “I never once heard him talk about the debt,” one former senior White House official attested.
What’s more, in Trump’s view, cutbacks aren’t even necessary. Instead he is focused on economic growth: Indeed, one current senior Trump administration official vented to the news outlet that Trump “doesn’t really care” about actually attacking the debt “crisis,” and prefers simply “jobs and growth, whatever that means.”
Rather than placing blame, Hogan Gidley, a White House spokesperson, passed the buck to the legislative branch. “While the president has and will continue to do everything in his power to rein in Washington’s out-of-control spending,” he said in an interview, “the Constitution gives Congress the power of the purse and it’s time for them to work with this president to reduce the debt.”
For the most part, the Daily Beast reports, the Republican Party has gone along—noting, “ Over the first two years of the Trump administration, congressional Republicans have slashed taxes dramatically while increasing defense and discretionary spending; all without giving much indication that they’re going to take a stab at dramatically gutting certain popular entitlements.”
In the end, right-leaning reformers shouldn’t stake their reputations on decreased spending. After all there is still a wall to build—and that will cost billions. A former Trump official added, “It’s not like it’s going to haunt him.”
Research contact: @swin24